US4764690A - Electret transducing - Google Patents

Electret transducing Download PDF

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Publication number
US4764690A
US4764690A US06875596 US87559686A US4764690A US 4764690 A US4764690 A US 4764690A US 06875596 US06875596 US 06875596 US 87559686 A US87559686 A US 87559686A US 4764690 A US4764690 A US 4764690A
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Prior art keywords
backplate
electret
layer
spacer
diaphragm
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Expired - Lifetime
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US06875596
Inventor
Preston V. Murphy
Kurt Hubschi
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RTI Technologies Pte Ltd
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Lectret SA
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R19/00Electrostatic transducers
    • H04R19/01Electrostatic transducers characterised by the use of electrets
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R25/00Deaf-aid sets providing an auditory perception; Electric tinnitus maskers providing an auditory perception
    • H04R25/60Mounting or interconnection of hearing aid parts, e.g. inside tips or housing. to ossicles
    • H04R25/604Arrangements for mounting transducers
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49002Electrical device making
    • Y10T29/49005Acoustic transducer
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49002Electrical device making
    • Y10T29/49226Electret making

Abstract

A backplate assembly for an electret transducer including a backplate, an electret layer covering one surface of the backplate, and a peripheral spacer on the same side of the backplate as the electret layer and around the entire periphery of the electret layer, the spacer being secured to the backplate by a thin layer of material of the electret layer located and compressed between the spacer and the backplate, the thin layer being substantially thinner than the electret layer. Also disclosed is using a peripheral ring to support a diaphragm spaced from a housing wall via support members extending from the ring.

Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to acoustic transducers, for example, electret condenser microphones.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known that extremely precise control of the distance between backplate and diaphragm is very important in an electret microphone. Desirably, variation in the distance from unit to unit should be less than two microns, the distance itself typically being in the range of from 25 to 40 microns.

Techniques heretofore proposed for controlling this distance, or separation, or spacing, have included protrusions (Schmitt U.S. Pat. No. 3,772,133, dated Nov. 13, 1973), a screen (Smulders U.S. Pat. No. 4,160,881, dated July 10, 1979), and directly securing a spacer to a Teflon electret layer on a backplate by heating, the spacer itself being spaced from the backplate by the thickness of the Teflon layer.

In hearing aid microphones the sound entry port is usually on a narrow edge of the microphone rather than the front face, and the diaphragm is supported on a ring or bonded to the backplate. In order to provide an unobstructed path from the entry port to the diaphragm, so called acoustic terminators (e.g, U.S. Pat. No. 4,331,840) or deformations in the housing (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 4,160,881) have been used.

The electret microphones used in hearing aids have used hybrid rather than monolithic preamplifiers, because only the former were able to provide sufficiently low noise, low current drain, and low operating voltage (pinch-off voltage 0.3 to 0.7 volt). Recently, monolithic JFET preamplifiers have been proposed for hearing aids.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect our invention features applying high pressure and increased temperature to a backplate/electret layer/peripheral spacer sandwich to cause the electret layer material to flow out of the region between the spacer and the backplate so that the spacer is virtually bottomed out on the backplate. The high pressure permits a sufficiently thin layer of electret such that any variation in thickness is insignificant in relation to overall spacing, and provides a burr-free spacer surface, thereby providing accurately reproducible spacer height. The effective spacer height is the difference between height of the spacer minus thickness of electret layer.

In preferred embodiments the electret layer is made of Teflon 25 microns in thickness; the backplate has a protrusion on the same side as the spacer of about the same height; the spacer is 50 microns in thickness (most preferably greater than 40 microns); the thickness of material between the spacer and the backplate is less than 2 microns (most preferably 1 micron); so that electret:diaphragm spacing is 26 microns.

In another aspect the invention features supporting the diaphragm on one side of a peripheral ring that includes support members extending from the opposite side so as to space the ring from the housing wall at the same time that an unobstructed path is provided to the diaphragm, which makes possible providing the entry port in either an edge or a bottom wall of the microphone housing.

In preferred embodiments the support members are a pair of parallel bars extending between and spaced from opposite portions of the ring; the parallel bars are spaced from each other by a distance greater than the width of the path from the entry port to the region opposite the diaphragm; and the housing for the electret transducer has a side opening.

In another aspect the invention features an electret transducer with a preamplifier including a PMOS metal-oxide-semiconductor transistor. The preamplifier is reliable and simply and inexpensively made. In preferred embodiments the substrate supporting the transistor also includes a polysilicon gate, a polysilicon gate bias resistor and a source resistor.

Other advantages and features of the invention will be apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof and from the claims.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The preferred embodiment will now be described.

Drawings

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electret transducer according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view, taken at 2--2 of FIG. 1, of the FIG. 1 transducer.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the FIG. 1 transducer.

FIG. 4 is a partial view of a backplate/electret/ spacer component of the FIG. 1 transducer along with an enlarged view of a portion thereof.

FIG. 5 is an electrical schematic of a preamplifier of the FIG. 1 transducer.

Structure

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 3, there is shown transducer 10 including lower housing 12 and cover 14 in which the transducer components are contained. They include diaphragm support 16, diaphragm 18, 50 micron-thick spacer ring 20, 25 micron-thick Teflon electret 22, metal backplate 24, preamplifier 26, and printed circuit board 28. Lower housing 12 has entry port 30 extending from one side thereof and connected to the region below diaphragm 18 via passage 32 between lower parallel bars 34 of diaphragm support 16, which bars space diaphragm 18 above lower housing wall 36. Printed circuit board 28 is supported by the lower surface of cover 14 and has contact 39 making electrical connection with backplate 24 and contacts 38, 40, 41 connected to one of spaced copper soldering terminals carried on insulating material (indicated as a group at 42) adhered to housing 12. Backplate 24 has holes 44 to the region between it and diaphragm 18 and protuberance 47 of height to just touch diaphragm 18.

Referring to FIG. 5, PMOS preamplifier 26 includes polysilicon p-channel metal-oxide-semiconductor transistor 56 manufactured according to CMOS technology. The source of transistor 56 is directly connected to signal contact 40 and connected through 10-20K ohm source resistor 58 on semiconductor substrate of transistor 56 to power source lead 41. The gate of transistor 26 is connected to polysilicon 109 to 1010 ohm gate resistor 60, and by contact 39 to backplate 24, shown diagrammatically in FIG. 5 as part of variable capacitor 62, representing the electret/diaphragm combination. As indicated in FIG. 5, diaphragm 18 is connected to ground 38, as are the drain of transistor 56 and gate resistor 60.

Manufacture

Backplate 24, Teflon electret layer 22, and spacer ring 20 are assembled together by applying very high bonding pressure (about six kilograms per square millimeter) and elevated tempeature (320° C.) to a sandwich of sheets carrying pluralities of the components spaced from adjacent components by breakout tabs (not shown). Sufficient pressure is applied to cause the Teflon material to be forced out of the region between ring 20 and backplate 24 so that approximately 1 micron thick layer 46 remains, the displaced Teflon appearing as ridge 48 (exaggerated in enlarged portion of FIG. 4) near spacer ring 20. The use of the high pressure acts to provide otherwise difficult adhesion of spacer 20 to Teflon, and provides a burrfree surface for spacer 20, resulting in an accurately reproducible spacer height.

Diaphragm 18 is secured to peripheral ring 50 of diaphragm support 16 by adhesive that is applied to the upper surface of ring 50 and cured after diaphragm 18 has been placed under tension and brought into contact with the adhesive. Backplate spacer subassembly 52 is then bonded to diaphragm subassembly 54 using a very thin bead of low viscosity adhesive to avoid significantly increasing the spacing between diaprhagm 18 and backplate 24.

Operation

In use, sound waves enter through port 30 and pass into the region opposite diaphragm 18 with little attenuation of the higher frequencies owing to the use of spaced parallel bars 34. Bars 34 rest securely against lower housing wall 36 and also add to the rigidity of diaphragm support 16.

The sound waves cause variations in the distance between diaphragm 18 and electret layer 22, varying the capacitance of the resultant variable capacitor 62 (FIG. 5) (18, 22), providing a signal amplified by transistor 56 provided over contact 40. Spacer 20 provides accurate spacing of diaphragm 18 from backplate 24, resulting in desirably low dispersion in the sensitivity level, a problem with electret microphones.

Transistor 56 has low noise, low current drain, and low operating voltage. Its pinch-off voltage (Vp) is between 0.4 and 0.6 volt; its current drain at 1.3 volts is 20-30 microamps; its noise level is approximately 4 microvolts average "A" weighted; its input capacitance is 4 pF, providing with the electret's 3-4 pF driving capacitance a desirable signal-to-noise ratio of 24 dB. Preamplifier chip 26 has good resistance to high temperature and high humidity.

Other Embodiments

Other embodiments of the invention are within the scope of the following claims. E.g, the entry port could be provided through lower housing wall 36.

Claims (16)

What is claimed is:
1. A backplate assembly for an electret transducer comprising
a backplate,
an electret layer covering one surface of said backplate, and
a peripheral spacer on the same side of the backplate as said electret layer and around the entire periphery of said electret layer, said spacer being secured to said backplate by a thin layer of material of said electret layer located and compressed between said spacer and said backplate, said thin layer being substantially thinner than said electret layer.
2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said spacer can move no further than said backplate resulting in an effective spacer height equal to the height of said spacer minus the thickness of said electret layer.
3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said electret layer is made of Teflon.
4. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said thin layer is 2 microns or less in thickness, and said spacer is greater than 25 microns thick.
5. The assembly of claim 4 wherein said thin layer is less than or equal to 1 micron thick, and said spacer is more than 40 microns thick.
6. A method of making a backplate assembly comprising
providing a sandwich of a backplate, an electret layer covering one surface of said backplate, and a peripheral spacer on the same side of the backplate as said electret and around the entire periphery of said electret layer, and
applying sufficient pressure and temperature to cause the majority of electret layer material between said spacer and said backplate to be displaced outward, resulting in a very thin layer between said spacer and said backplate.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein said pressure is sufficiently high such that further increases in pressure do not result in a substantially thinner layer between the spacer and backplate.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein said electret layer is made of Teflon.
9. The method of claim 7 wherein said thin layer is 2 microns or less in thickness, and said spacer is greater than 25 microns thick.
10. The method of claim 8 wherein said thin layer is less than or equal to 1 micron thick, and said spacer is more than 40 microns thick.
11. A transducer including a backplate assembly comprising
a backplate,
an electret layer covering one surface of said backplate,
a peripheral spacer on the same side of the backplate as said electret layer and around the entire periphery of said electret layer, said spacer being secured to said backplate by a thin layer of material of said electret layer compressed between said spacer and said backplate, said thin layer being substantially thinner than said electret layer, and
a diaphragm spaced from said backplate by said spacer.
12. An electret transducer comprising
a housing defining an entry port to a chamber therein,
a diaphragm in said chamber, and
a diaphragm support including a pheripheral ring, one side of said ring being secured to said diaphragm and another side of said ring being secured to support members, said support members spacing said ring from a wall of said housing and providing an unobstructed path between said port and said diaphragm.
13. The transducer of claim 12 wherein said support members are a pair of parallel bars extending between and spaced from said ring.
14. The transducer of claim 13 wherein said bars are spaced from each other by a distance greater than the width of said entry port.
15. The transducer of claim 14 wherein said housing has large sides parallel to said diaphragm and thin sides perpendicular to said large sides, and said entry port is located at a thin side of said housing.
16. The transducer of claim 14 wherein said entry port directly faces said diaphragm.
US06875596 1986-06-18 1986-06-18 Electret transducing Expired - Lifetime US4764690A (en)

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Cited By (42)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4845512A (en) * 1988-10-12 1989-07-04 Videojet Systems International, Inc. Drop deflection device and method for drop marking systems
US4910840A (en) * 1987-10-30 1990-03-27 Microtel, B.V. Electroacoustic transducer of the so-called "electret" type, and a method of making such a transducer
US4993072A (en) * 1989-02-24 1991-02-12 Lectret S.A. Shielded electret transducer and method of making the same
US5101543A (en) * 1990-07-02 1992-04-07 Gentex Corporation Method of making a variable capacitor microphone
WO1993018627A1 (en) * 1992-03-05 1993-09-16 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Electret microphone assembly, and method of manufacture
US5446413A (en) * 1994-05-20 1995-08-29 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Impedance circuit for a miniature hearing aid
US5522123A (en) * 1993-02-26 1996-06-04 Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Method and apparatus for assembling electronic component
US5548658A (en) * 1994-06-06 1996-08-20 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Acoustic Transducer
US5570428A (en) * 1994-09-27 1996-10-29 Tibbetts Industries, Inc. Transducer assembly
WO1997039464A1 (en) * 1996-04-18 1997-10-23 California Institute Of Technology Thin film electret microphone
US5708721A (en) * 1989-12-21 1998-01-13 Knowles Electronics Co. Coil assemblies
US5809155A (en) * 1997-07-02 1998-09-15 Su; Den-Tsai Assembling structure for capacitor microphone
US5952645A (en) * 1996-08-27 1999-09-14 California Institute Of Technology Light-sensing array with wedge-like reflective optical concentrators
US5978491A (en) * 1996-11-21 1999-11-02 Vxi Corporation Circuitry for improving performance of electret microphone
WO1999065277A1 (en) * 1998-06-11 1999-12-16 Microtronic A/S A method of manufacturing a transducer having a diaphragm with a predetermined tension
EP0969695A1 (en) * 1998-07-02 2000-01-05 Microtronic Nederland B.V. System consisting of a microphone and a preamplifier
WO2001050814A1 (en) * 2000-01-06 2001-07-12 Sarnoff Corporation Microphone assembly with jfet flip-chip buffer for hearing aid
US6366678B1 (en) 1999-01-07 2002-04-02 Sarnoff Corporation Microphone assembly for hearing aid with JFET flip-chip buffer
EP1251713A2 (en) * 2001-04-18 2002-10-23 Sonion Microtronic Nederland B.V. Cylindrical microphone having an electret assembly in the end cover
EP1261234A2 (en) * 2001-05-15 2002-11-27 Citizen Electronics Co., Ltd. Condenser microphone and method for manufacturing condenser microphones
US6504937B1 (en) 1998-01-06 2003-01-07 Vxi Corporation Amplifier circuit for electret microphone with enhanced performance
US20030026444A1 (en) * 2001-04-18 2003-02-06 De Roo Dion I. Microphone for a listening device having a reduced humidity coefficient
US20030063768A1 (en) * 2001-09-28 2003-04-03 Cornelius Elrick Lennaert Microphone for a hearing aid or listening device with improved dampening of peak frequency response
US20030076970A1 (en) * 2001-04-18 2003-04-24 Van Halteren Aart Z. Electret assembly for a microphone having a backplate with improved charge stability
US20030103639A1 (en) * 1999-12-09 2003-06-05 Rittersma Zacharias M. Miniature microphone
US6580797B1 (en) 1998-07-15 2003-06-17 Vxi Corporation Amplifier circuit for electret microphone with enhanced performance
US6694032B2 (en) * 2000-11-01 2004-02-17 Bse Co., Ltd. Electret condenser microphone
EP1397023A2 (en) * 2002-09-06 2004-03-10 Sonionmicrotronic Nederland B.V. Microphone with improved sound inlet port
US20040252858A1 (en) * 2003-04-28 2004-12-16 Boor Steven E. Method and apparatus for substantially improving power supply rejection performance in a miniature microphone assembly
US20050089188A1 (en) * 2003-10-24 2005-04-28 Feng Jen N. High performance capacitor microphone and manufacturing method thereof
US20050254673A1 (en) * 1999-05-19 2005-11-17 California Institute Of Technology High performance MEMS thin-film teflon electret microphone
US20060093167A1 (en) * 2004-10-29 2006-05-04 Raymond Mogelin Microphone with internal damping
US20060143911A1 (en) * 2001-05-10 2006-07-06 Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Electret condenser microphone and method of producing same
US7130434B1 (en) * 2003-03-26 2006-10-31 Plantronics, Inc. Microphone PCB with integrated filter
US7239714B2 (en) 2001-10-09 2007-07-03 Sonion Nederland B.V. Microphone having a flexible printed circuit board for mounting components
US20070297636A1 (en) * 2003-10-24 2007-12-27 Knowles Electronics, Llc High Performance Microphone and Manufacturing Method Thereof
US20090154729A1 (en) * 2007-12-14 2009-06-18 Michael Jennings Filter Circuit for an Electret Microphone
WO2010045088A2 (en) * 2008-10-17 2010-04-22 Knowles Electronics, Llc Apparatus and method for reducing crosstalk within a microphone
US20100098284A1 (en) * 2008-10-17 2010-04-22 Knowles Electronics, Llc Apparatus And Method For Reducing Crosstalk Within A Microphone
US20100172521A1 (en) * 2002-10-08 2010-07-08 Sonion Nederland B.V. Electret Assembly For A Microphone Having A Backplate With Improved Charge Stability
US9398389B2 (en) 2013-05-13 2016-07-19 Knowles Electronics, Llc Apparatus for securing components in an electret condenser microphone (ECM)
US9872109B2 (en) 2014-12-17 2018-01-16 Knowles Electronics, Llc Shared coil receiver

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Cited By (77)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4910840A (en) * 1987-10-30 1990-03-27 Microtel, B.V. Electroacoustic transducer of the so-called "electret" type, and a method of making such a transducer
US4845512A (en) * 1988-10-12 1989-07-04 Videojet Systems International, Inc. Drop deflection device and method for drop marking systems
EP0364227A2 (en) * 1988-10-12 1990-04-18 Videojet Systems International, Inc. Drop marking devices
EP0364227A3 (en) * 1988-10-12 1991-01-02 Videojet Systems International, Inc. Drop marking devices
US4993072A (en) * 1989-02-24 1991-02-12 Lectret S.A. Shielded electret transducer and method of making the same
US5708721A (en) * 1989-12-21 1998-01-13 Knowles Electronics Co. Coil assemblies
US5101543A (en) * 1990-07-02 1992-04-07 Gentex Corporation Method of making a variable capacitor microphone
WO1993018627A1 (en) * 1992-03-05 1993-09-16 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Electret microphone assembly, and method of manufacture
US5408534A (en) * 1992-03-05 1995-04-18 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Electret microphone assembly, and method of manufacturer
US5522123A (en) * 1993-02-26 1996-06-04 Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Method and apparatus for assembling electronic component
US5446413A (en) * 1994-05-20 1995-08-29 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Impedance circuit for a miniature hearing aid
US5861779A (en) * 1994-05-20 1999-01-19 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Impedance circuit for a miniature hearing aid
US5548658A (en) * 1994-06-06 1996-08-20 Knowles Electronics, Inc. Acoustic Transducer
US5570428A (en) * 1994-09-27 1996-10-29 Tibbetts Industries, Inc. Transducer assembly
US6243474B1 (en) 1996-04-18 2001-06-05 California Institute Of Technology Thin film electret microphone
WO1997039464A1 (en) * 1996-04-18 1997-10-23 California Institute Of Technology Thin film electret microphone
US6806593B2 (en) 1996-04-18 2004-10-19 California Institute Of Technology Thin film electret microphone
US20010033670A1 (en) * 1996-04-18 2001-10-25 California Institute Of Technology A California Institute Of Technology Thin film electret microphone
US5952645A (en) * 1996-08-27 1999-09-14 California Institute Of Technology Light-sensing array with wedge-like reflective optical concentrators
US5978491A (en) * 1996-11-21 1999-11-02 Vxi Corporation Circuitry for improving performance of electret microphone
US5809155A (en) * 1997-07-02 1998-09-15 Su; Den-Tsai Assembling structure for capacitor microphone
US6504937B1 (en) 1998-01-06 2003-01-07 Vxi Corporation Amplifier circuit for electret microphone with enhanced performance
WO1999065277A1 (en) * 1998-06-11 1999-12-16 Microtronic A/S A method of manufacturing a transducer having a diaphragm with a predetermined tension
NL1009544C2 (en) * 1998-07-02 2000-01-10 Microtronic Nederland Bv System consisting of a microphone and a preamplifier.
US6914992B1 (en) * 1998-07-02 2005-07-05 Sonion Nederland B.V. System consisting of a microphone and a preamplifier
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